Dr. Karyl's Blog

Is Your Parent a Narcissist?: 33 Ways to Tell

Is Your Parent a Narcissist?: 33 Ways to Tell

An expert’s checklist for gauging where you stand. The label narcissist is used loosely these days, typically to indicate anyone who is vain and selfish, but the actual, diagnosable personality disorder and its traits run much deeper and carry long-term debilitating...

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Why Blame Is So Toxic for Trauma Recovery

Why Blame Is So Toxic for Trauma Recovery

Accountability is crucial for sound mental health. Remember the old phrase, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones"? The proverb appeared in Chaucer's 1385 retelling of the tale of Troilus and Criseyde. Later, George Herbert modified it this way:...

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Impaired Trust in the Narcissistic Family

Impaired Trust in the Narcissistic Family

What does it mean to trust someone? My client Brian, 32, tells me, “Growing up, I never felt I could depend on my parents for what you’d call emotional support. That feeling that other people have- that their mom or dad is there for them no matter what? I didn’t get...

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10 Tips to Combat Loneliness

10 Tips to Combat Loneliness

If you feel lonely, you're not alone. We all feel lonely at times. Perhaps you felt isolated or alone in your family of origin—and still do. Maybe you experience loneliness within your peer group or work environment. You may want a close relationship with a friend or...

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Wait…It’s Mother’s Day Again?!

Wait…It’s Mother’s Day Again?!

You can stop the legacy of distorted love if you have a narcissistic parent. I know this sounds harsh and the term narcissism is thrown around loosely these days. We need to remember that narcissism is a spectrum disorder and people can have a few or many traits along...

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How to Become More Empathetic

How to Become More Empathetic

Tips for offering the gift of empathy In a world where many of us feel less connected to one another, giving and receiving empathy is more important than ever. We all yearn to be truly heard and understood. Fortunately, providing empathy is a skill that can be learned...

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6 Steps to Self-Acceptance

6 Steps to Self-Acceptance

It's the gift to give yourself this season. ‘Tis the season for gift giving. It’s also the time of year when people ask you what gifts you want this holiday season. As you think about what you might want a loved one to give you, why not consider the most important...

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Mixed Emotions on Mother’s Day?

Mixed Emotions on Mother’s Day?

Adult children of narcissists beware! Mother’s Day is this country’s most widely observed holiday, celebrating an unassailable institution. A mother is commonly envisioned as giving herself fully to her children, and our culture still expects mothers to tend to their...

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Understanding Narcissistic Injury

Understanding Narcissistic Injury

Narcissists do not forgive or forget! Narcissistic injury is often widely misunderstood. Many people believe it relates to the trauma experienced by the victims of narcissists. But instead, it is what is experienced by the narcissist when they lose or are abandoned or...

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How to Talk to Others About Coronavirus Fears

How to Talk to Others About Coronavirus Fears

What is dismissive positivity and why is it toxic? There is a concept called dismissive positivity that has recently been popularized by a Miami-based psychotherapist named Whitney Goodman. Dismissive positivity is a cheery, positive response to someone telling you...

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COVID-19 Stress: It’s OK to be Human

COVID-19 Stress: It’s OK to be Human

Six Mental Health Tips for Coping This is obviously a stressful, traumatic time for all, whether it is economic, medical, mental health, or family issues when on lockdown. When we experience trauma, we have feelings that must be dealt with and processed. This is not...

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Authoritarian Parenting and Polarization in Politics

Authoritarian Parenting and Polarization in Politics

Does parenting style influence how we vote? How we view the treatment of children may be connected to our choices in political candidates. I certainly do not claim to be a political analyst and I am not making a political statement, but there is some interesting...

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Why are Mean People So Powerful?

Why are Mean People So Powerful?

Are you baffled by narcissists who act mean? Do you have narcissists in your life who are just plain mean? Do you ask yourself, “how can someone be so mean?” Do you wonder sometimes how they even come up with their aggressive and vengeful antics against you? Are you...

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Lack of Accountability in Narcissists

Lack of Accountability in Narcissists

Narcissists lie and re-write history, but why? One of the most crucial characteristics of a morally centered, responsible, and mentally healthy individual is the ability to be accountable for one’s actions and feelings. This is how we grow and learn from our mistakes...

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Divorcing a Narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist

This will not be your normal break-up…believe me! When Ellen entered her first therapy session with me, she held a card in her hand that she’d printed out from Somecards.com. Without speaking, she handed it to me. It read, “We divorced for religious reasons. My...

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Narcissists Use “Gaslighting” to Control and Abuse

What is gaslighting and are you a target? If you are dealing with a narcissist in your life or grew up with a narcissistic parent, you may have experienced “gaslighting.” It is a form of verbal and psychological abuse that is insidiously cruel, with the intention of...

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Sexual Assault Stories Can Traumatize the Public

Sexual Assault Stories Can Traumatize the Public

Finding balance in disclosing sexual abuse While I am most certainly an advocate for sexual assault victims, and have specialized in this field of mental health work for 30 plus years, I feel compelled to share what many of my clients and colleagues have revealed to...

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Will I Be Good Enough for the Holidays?

Will I Be Good Enough for the Holidays?

8 tips for dealing with criticism from narcissistic families One of the painful trademarks of the narcissistic family is constant criticism and judgment. In their presence, one can feel insecure, put down, and typically not valued as a person. When around narcissists,...

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What if Your Parents Were Just Not That Into You?

What if Your Parents Were Just Not That Into You?

The lifelong effects of childhood neglect If you were emotionally or physically neglected as a child, it can be a difficult journey to heal. Neglect can be a hard thing to put your finger on, especially if it was emotional. Neglected children often don’t realize they...

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How Does A Narcissist Think?

How Does A Narcissist Think?

Here is how narcissistic behavior is dangerous and harmful to others Is the word narcissism being over-used and thrown around lightly? Do we need a deeper understanding of narcissistic behavior and why it is harmful and even dangerous? Having studied this disorder for...

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Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents and Mother’s Day

Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents and Mother’s Day

10 Tips to help with emotional triggers and avoid an emotional collapse! In the United States and around the world, Mother’s Day, is certainly one of the most celebrated holidays. It should be a special day to honor mothers and appreciate them for all that they do and...

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Are You Having a Difficult Holiday Week?

Are You Having a Difficult Holiday Week?

Five Tips for Keeping Your Sanity in the Season and the New Year How’s your holiday season going? Ready for the New Year? Are you feeling happy and content and ready to move forward? Or are you struggling this week and feeling like the holidays were less than you...

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Faces of the Narcissist: The Critic and the Judge

Faces of the Narcissist: The Critic and the Judge

Eight tips to protect yourself. Do you have a narcissist in your life? Most everyone knows one or has been involved with one. They may be in your family, work, or social circle. The narcissist may be tolerable or even charming with you until they decide to come after...

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Narcissists Derail People

Narcissists Derail People

How to protect yourself from getting duped by a narcissist What is it about narcissistic behavior that leaves people scratching their heads and wondering what just happened?! A narcissist can derail someone in minutes due to their own issues. It can come out of the...

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The Destructive Force of Narcissistic Injury

The Destructive Force of Narcissistic Injury

What is it? How does it affect Leadership and Relationship? Narcissists suffer from what the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines as narcissistic injury: “vulnerability in self-esteem which makes narcissistic people very sensitive to ‘injury’...

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Embrace Recovery on Mother’s Day

Embrace Recovery on Mother’s Day

Adult children of narcissistic parents in search of peace Mother’s Day in the United States is rapidly approaching. It’s the time of year that my inbox is flooded with questions. What to do? What card to buy? Contact or not? Adult children of narcissistic parents...

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Five Qualities to Encourage in Your Kids

Five Qualities to Encourage in Your Kids

Why Values Are Important in Raising Emotionally Healthy Children I was honored to be asked to give a speech at a National Junior Honor Society awards ceremony for fourth through eighth graders, along with their parents and teachers. My granddaughter, the president,...

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The Label “Narcissism” is Used Too Loosely Today

The Label “Narcissism” is Used Too Loosely Today

What is the real problem with having a narcissist in your life? Is there someone you know who is extremely boastful, self-absorbed, and is found frequently taking selfies or engaging in self-admiration?  If so, do you really care? This seems to be the common...

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Sibling Incest in the News

Treatment options for sibling incest. Having worked in the child sexual abuse field for 30 some years, I am continually struck with a sense of sadness when yet another family comes forward with admissions of sibling sexual abuse. Rather than judgment it is important...

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Mother’s Day for Those Raised by Narcissistic Parents

Mother’s Day for Those Raised by Narcissistic Parents

Cherish your own capacity to love and provide empathy! Mother’s Day is approaching. Is it time to run and hide or stumble into a Hallmark store to desperately search for that empty card that says nothing upon which you simply sign your name? How sad, awful, taboo, and...

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Is Your Partner a Narcissist? Here Are 50 Ways to Tell

Is Your Partner a Narcissist? Here Are 50 Ways to Tell

An expert's checklist for gauging where you stand.The label narcissist is used loosely these days, typically to indicate someone who is vain and selfish, but the personality disorder and the traits of narcissism run much deeper than this and carry long-term...

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Do You Feel Not Good Enough?

Do You Feel Not Good Enough?

Are you carrying the emotional burden of a dysfunctional family? Are you constantly beating yourself up and thinking that somehow you should be more, do more, be better, and you don’t measure up in your own mind? After more than three decades of working as a therapist...

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Post-Romantic Stress

Post-Romantic Stress

What did you learn about love in childhood? With Valentine's Day approaching, the topic of love is hot stuff. Will you be my Valentine? Will we love 'til death do us part? Is unconditional love even possible in romantic relationships? Did I learn how to love in...

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Do Holiday Expectations Cause You Angst? 12 Ways to Help

Do Holiday Expectations Cause You Angst? 12 Ways to Help

The holidays are not a magical wand to transform families. Holiday expectations can get us in trouble during the holiday season. Why is it that we somehow still hang onto the vision that we can suddenly transform the family into what we want during the holidays and...

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Where was Daddy?

Where was Daddy?

If you had a narcissistic mother, did your father protect you? The family with a narcissistic mother operates according to an unspoken set of rules. Children learn to live with those rules, but they never stop being confused and pained by them, for these rules block...

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Do You Attract Narcissists as Friends?

Do You Attract Narcissists as Friends?

How can I tell if my friend is a narcissist? I recently got an email from a lovely woman saying she feels she repeats the dynamic she had with her narcissistic mother in her choice of friends. She says she befriends narcissistic women, who then, like her mother, end...

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Mothers Who Are Jealous of Their Daughters

Mothers Who Are Jealous of Their Daughters

A mother’s jealousy distorts a daughter’s normal development When I was writing the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers, I found that I heard certain kinds of painful stories over and over again, like themes in a piece of...

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Narcissists Are Not Accountable

Narcissists Are Not Accountable

Who me? I didn’t do it! Lack of accountability is a pet peeve for sure, and also a common problem with narcissists. Although there are many disturbing factors in the personality of a narcissist, this one is tough to deal with in any relationship. It’s hard to...

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Plant Both Feet In Relationships!

Plant Both Feet In Relationships!

Do you struggle with trust or commitment in a relationship? “I can’t seem to commit in relationships.” “I choose people who don’t commit.” “I start out fine, but something happens and I opt out.” “I find someone I’m interested in and poof they’re gone.” Sound...

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When Mothers Day Hurts

When Mothers Day Hurts

Cultural expectations about Mothers Day and motherhood can open up wounds. Nobody wants to be a "Debbie Downer" on Mothers Day. Its a blessed and sacred institution and should be. Truly, what is more amazing than giving birth to gorgeous little ones and watching them...

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Are You Worried You Might Be A Narcissistic Parent?

Are You Worried You Might Be A Narcissistic Parent?

Am I a narcissistic parent? Am I passing narcissism on to my children? What is the cornerstone of maternal or paternal narcissism? Do you worry you might be a narcissistic parent? Most of us with children hold the value that we would never consciously do anything to...

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Will I Ever Be Good Enough?

Will I Ever Be Good Enough?

Are you in relationship with a narcissist? Adult children of narcissistic parents commonly grow up with this nagging feeling that they flunked childhood and it’s all their fault. They internalize the message they are not good enough no matter how hard they try.  While...

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